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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

The Manager Timeline and Summary

  • Marlow meets the manager at the Central Station. He is struck and unnerved by the manager’s vacant smile which comes after each of his long speeches. This is a characteristic of the manager and irritates Marlow. He also likes to babble a lot.
  • Marlow wonders at the manager’s continued employment with the Company. The manager does not seem to show any great aptitude at his job. In the end, Marlow decides the reason he keeps his post is because he has never gotten sick out there in the tropical wilderness.
  • Marlow learns from the manager’s speech that Kurtz is sick in the interior.
  • After the Eldorado Exploring Expedition arrives, the manager and his uncle have a whispered conversation about Kurtz. They are both disturbed by his influence in the Company and jealous of his success. Apparently Kurtz wants to become a manager and the manager feels threatened by this. His uncle tells him to pray that the inhospitable country will kill Kurtz for him.
  • After the attack on the steamboat, the manager tries to get Marlow to move the boat. Knowing it will lead to certain death, Marlow refuses and this puts the manager back in his place.
  • Upon seeing Kurtz’s stash of ivory, the manager pronounces the vast majority of it "fossil," which means it is useless. This is, of course, folly, and a sign of the manager’s jealousy.
  • After arriving at the Inner Station, the manager speaks to Kurtz alone and they have an argument. The manager, upon talking with Marlow, calls Kurtz’s methods of getting ivory "unsound." Marlow sides with Kurtz, forever alienating himself from the manager’s favor.

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